Third-party applications are responsible for 76 percent of vulnerabilities now plaguing the 50 most popular programs, according to IT security firm Secunia. The company's research looked at the top 50 programs used on private PCs - including solutions approved and maintained by IT experts - with vulnerabilities largely stemming from non-Microsoft applications.
Of the 1,208 total vulnerabilities found in 2013, 76 percent were sourced to third-party applications - even though they account for just 34 percent of the top 50 programs.
Despite continually improving security, many users still blame Microsoft for a wide variety of security loopholes - but Secunia's research indicates it's these downloaded and installed third-party apps that continue to cause problems.
"It is one thing that third-party programs are responsible for the majority of vulnerabilities on a typical PC, rather than Microsoft programs," said Morten Stengaard, Secunia CTO, in a press statement. "However, another very important security factor is how easy it is to update Microsoft programs compared to third-party programs."
As companies continue to try and boost security for their products, consumers also must ensure their PCs, tablets, smartphones, and other devices are secure. Using additional anti-malware and anti-virus solutions, for example, better protect devices while criminals look for the easiest platforms to target and exploit.